Essential Assessments for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

           There are three essential assessments that should be conducted by law for children who are blind or visually impaired: the functional vision assessment (FVA), the learning media assessment (LMA) and the expanded core curriculum assessment (ECC).

            These three assessments should use both formal and informal data that the team can use to meet the educational needs of your child.  However, as a parent you may not know how your child should be evaluated, what kind of data should be gathered, etc. The following is a link to a set of rubrics that you can review and learn just exactly what and how much data should be collected and by who, as  a rubric defines what is expected and what will be assessed, Essential Assessments Rubric – A resource for teachers of children with visual impairments (

           You can use these rubrics to make sure that your child is appropriately assessed and find out what information you should provide to the team. The following is a statement from the website, “Teachers of students who are blind or visually impaired (TVIs) should use the essential assessment framework to secure data that drives eligibility/entitlement, educational programming and instruction.

           While each of the three assessments are critical, I feel like the ECC assessment often gets overlooked. This assessment has NINE components.  Each component is listed, defined and explained on the Perkins School for the Blind website, Understanding the Expanded Core Curriculum - Perkins School for the Blind  I urge you to read this!  The ECC focuses on the incidental learning that occurs in the classroom, the home and the community for sighted children.

           Your child is entitled to expert instruction in the areas they have needs, you cannot let the district gloss over this.

  1. Compensatory and functional academic skills, including communication modes
  2. Orientation and Mobility - this is conducted by a Certified Mobility Instructor
  3. Social Interaction Skills
  4. Independent Living Skills
  5. Recreation & Leisure
  6. Career Education
  7. Assistive Technology
  8. Sensory Efficiency
  9. Self Determination

Why is this so important?

“The foundational skills children with disabilities need for daily life in school, at home and in the community must be strategically taught and integrated into all aspects of their education. The reason is simple: The payoff for this work lasts a lifetime.” Understanding the Expanded Core Curriculum - Perkins School for the Blind